Thursday, November 17, 2011

Deliciousness, but still Mistakes

Rather than buying Almond Roca and Turtles this year, I decided to try making them. Maybe practice makes perfect, but I have a LOT of practicing to do. The toffee was under-cooked and the caramel for the turtles was over-cooked. And I even used a candy thermometer!!!

Oh, well, here are the recipes. I'm open to any advice and/or tricks you may have to make these turn out properly every time!

Mom's Turtles

pecan halves (about 8 oz.)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
6 tablespoons, unsalted butter, divided
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (1/2 cup chips)
3 oz. cup milk chocolate (1/2 cup chips)

Oil 2-3 baking sheets (or use silicone mats). Place pecan halves in clusters of 4 at even intervals, about 12 per sheet. (Note: the recipe called for 24 clusters, but I used 36.)

Combine sugars, cream, corn syrup, 3 tablespoons of the butter, and vanilla in a large pan. Heat over high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until candy thermometer reads 245° (firm ball stage).

Pour (spoon) a generous tablespoon of caramel over each pecan cluster. When caramel is warm but not set, mold clusters into turtle shapes. Let stand until completely cool and firm. Transfer to wire racks over baking sheets.

Melt remaining butter and chocolates together. Spoon over turtles, spreading with spatula to completely cover. Cool to room temperature. Store covered in an air-tight tin, or refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Note: The original recipe said to cook for five minutes after it reached 245°. I didn't do that, but immediately started using the caramel. Even so, as soon as I finished spooning it on and went to "mold" the clusters, the caramel was already hardened. So, I'm assuming even the 245° was too high. And for some reason my chocolate wasn't smooth and creamy. I had to spread it on like frosting. Sigh. Fortunately, these candies are still delicious, and I have an excuse to try the recipe again.

CEO's Almond Chocolate Toffee

1 cup almond slivers, divided
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cup chocolate chips

Line a 9x13" pan with foil, extending over the edges. Sprinkle half the almonds on the bottom.

Melt butter over low heat in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stir in sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium-high heat to boiling. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thermometer reads 290° (soft-crack stage). Watch carefully after mixture reaches 280°. Remove pan from heat. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan. Let stand 3 minutes, until surface is firm.

Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Let stand a couple minutes until chocolate is glossy and soft. Spread evenly over candy. Sprinkle with remaining almonds.

Chill until firm. Lift candy out of pan with foil; break into pieces. Makes about 1 1/2 pounds.

Note: On this recipe I took the "watch carefully" warning seriously, because I didn't want it to burn. I think I pulled it off the heat closer to 285° and I shouldn't have. Still delicious, but not the dark golden color that toffee ought to be. Guess I get to try this one again as well! (Or maybe I'll try the recipe from last year.)

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